I believe that creativity is woven into the DNA of most entrepreneurs. They typically see potential where others don’t–and that’s great. They often have a severe allergy to the status quo and have the sometimes-annoying habit of questioning everything and wondering why we can’t do it better. Suffice it to say; that it’s an incredible skill.
But it’s also important to acknowledge that this skill on its own isn’t enough. You also need the ability to execute all those big creative ideas to build a successful company. The key is acknowledging that both those skill sets might not exist in the same person.
The Importance of Implementation
I’ve written before about the importance of being able to execute and implement great ideas. I’d rather have a B-class idea executed on an A level than, conversely, an A-level idea that only gets a B-level implementation.
That’s because you can have the most fantastic idea in the world, but it will only be as valuable as your ability to execute it.
This is where creative entrepreneurs can get themselves into trouble. Their vision has them constantly looking at what’s next instead of focusing more on executing the great idea they already have.
I see this happen all the time in my work. A startup keeps spinning its wheels because the creative founder constantly changes priorities based on the most incredible new idea or technology. These founders quickly realize they don’t get the same energy out of executing something; it’s just not as much fun.
Sure, sometimes there is someone who comes along who possesses both skill sets. But the far more likely answer is that if you’re interested in building on those great ideas you have, you need to bring in a sidekick who excels at execution.
Turning Ideas into Reality
People in this world simply excel at taking ideas and turning them into reality. I count myself among this crowd. What we lack in the ability to come up with ideas or start something from scratch, we make up for in being able to take that idea and run with it.
That’s why we’ve seen so many successful partnerships–Hewlett and Packard, Pitney and Bowes, etc.–where a creator and executor teamed up to change the world.
In a classic sense, we tend to see the creative CEO team up with the practical skills of someone in, a COO or CFO, who understands how to implement the CEO’s ideas. Sometimes, we might see the reverse, where a functional CEO provides the support for a creative CMO.
The point is that the partnership is based on these complementary skills. And it might not always be easy. Sometimes, the creator gets frustrated by the implementor’s questions and concerns about whether the idea can be turned into reality. And the implementer can chafe at the constant energy and ideas coming from the creator.
The key is to appreciate each side’s power in the equation; that one plus one, in this case, equals three–or even more. You can’t have success with just creativity or execution; together, they are the secret combination you need for success.
Finding The Perfect Balance
So, as you look for that perfect balance of creativity and execution, look inward and ask yourself where your true strengths lie–and where you could use some help. You should also apply the same analysis to your entire team. Ideally, you’d like to have that balance of creatives and implementers on your staff. Any time you find yourself with more of one skill than the other, it might be time to reshuffle the deck.
If you can land on that perfect balance, you’ll build the foundation for your company that will propel you to long and sustainable success.